Title: Cream of the Crop
Series: Hudson Valley Series (Standalone #2)
Author: Alice Clayton
Release Date: July 12, 2016!

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton brings her trademark blend of funny and sexy to this second contemporary romance in the brand-new Hudson Valley series!
Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is...cheese.
Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.
Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it be...love?
Cream of the Crop is a feel good read. A delightfully fun and charming RomCom that has a cast of characters who are sure to enchant. It's safe to say that my first real reading experience with an Alice Clayton book was a huge success. In fact, I can't wait to go back and devour her other novels.

This, the second Standalone in the Hudson Valley series, brings sizzling heat in the form of a lighthearted romance. It follows Natalie, a buxom blonde marketing guru who as sassy and outgoing as it comes. Her attitude pulls you right into her super fly City girl life. Nat is one of those characters who is easy to love. A luscious, curvy woman who, in a refreshing change of pace, isn't insecure about her size in the least. She owns her body, controls her destiny, and drives her success.  A commanding presence on the pages, Natalie steals the show with her outrageously, hilarious inner monologue and sometimes crude and witty banter. She's in lust **hehehe** with a farmer she's been eyeing at the market for a couple months. Broody and sexy, Oscar snatches her natural badass aura every time he's around. He makes her feel nervous! Something that NEVER happens to Natalie. 

Oscar, a dairy farmer and owner of Bailey Falls Creamery, is a man of few words. And alpha who has the SEXIEST caveman qualities. He and Natalie go through a routine every Saturday morning. 

She goes into the market for cheese. 
He hands her the cheese. 
And a couple words are passed between them. 

It's funny, endearing, sweet, and very very charming. 

To say Nat has a crush on our hero is an understatement. She's had full blown, drawn out fantasies where Oscar is the star of the show. But when Nat see's Oscar she becomes tongue tied and can't get more than two words to fall from her lips. So, when a sprinkle of good fortune, in the form of a marketing campaign for Bailey Falls, slips into Natalie's lap, she scoops it up. After all, this is her chance to get a closer look at the man she's been lusting after and also an excuse to catch up with Roxie- her BFF and our heroine in the first book.

This sweet romantic comedy was so refreshing. With tender moments, sprinkled between steamy ones, and funny moments, sprinkled between heart felt ones, every page was a pure delight. Alice's writing is addicting and the story was fluid, flowing easily. For new Alice Clayton readers like me, I had no issues following along with the plot. I was enamored by the world the author created and totally smitten with all the characters. The angst is light, the sex is hot, and the dialogue is down right hilarious. 

Overall, I highly recommend this to anyone looking for happy, feel good read! Cream of the Crop is one you'll devour in one sitting, one you can't help but love and can't wait to re-read. I JUST LOVED IT. 

Angie's Rating:

Alice Clayton just upped the ante with this hilarious, unexpected, refreshing romance. Cream of the Crop is a steamy, messy Rom Com following a city girl and the sexy farmer she's been long eyeing at a New York City farmers market. The possibilities for farm themed innuendo are endless and Alice Clayton takes full advantage, delivering crude humor and smart dialogue against the backdrop of upstate New York farmland.

Alice Clayton has become my go-to author for, not only the slow burning, steamy romantic comedies she deliciously crafts, but also for the wholly captivating backdrop she places behind her addictive plots. The tastes and smells and personalities of this series are almost as addictive as the relationships she builds within it. It only took me a few pages to fall hard for the cheesemaker and the flamboyant advertising executive who longs for a taste of his wares. But just as enthralling is the idyllic small town feel Clayton captures in this book, the local businesses, the sense of community, the beauty of the country life right outside the city, the old world feel of Bailey Falls. I was just as taken with the atmosphere of this story as I was with the slow burning attraction between Natalie and Oscar.

Natalie is unapologetically sensual and unreservedly boisterous, every sexually charged flirtation that comes out of her mouth had me laughing out loud. I can not truly express how much I loved this girl. She's loud and proud, she owns her sexuality and she's confident in her womanhood. But there's a vulnerability there that one might miss if they're not looking close enough. It's clear early on that a bad relationship has marked her, and it's a long while before those bits from the past are divulged. That, along with her inexplicable nervousness around Oscar reveals a side of Natalie that she doesn't freely share. I loved seeing both of these characters' layers peeled back as this story evolved. Oscar is just as big a mystery and the way Clayton moves this story along with humor and sarcasm and a painstaking build is intoxicating. It's funny, even to me, that a story wrought with cow manure and butter churning and local produce can exude such sensuality. But Alice Clayton nailed it with this one. As it turns out, the eroticism of an actual roll in the hay is hugely underrated.

Natalie reminded me a bit of Samantha Jones from Sex and the City in the episode where she visits Aidan's upstate cabin with Carrie for the weekend and a sex fest with the farmer next door ensues. Like Samantha, Natalie is unapologetically sexual, fully embracing her knack for figuring out what makes a man tick... any man... and having him eating out of the palm of her hand regardless of the fact that she doesn't fit the mold of what society deems classically beautiful. And the romp in the barn with the farmer in this book is seriously one of the hottest things I've read in recent memory. But that's where the similarities end. Cream of the Crop takes the fashion forward city girl out of the concrete jungle and drops her into the country on a work assignment where she begins to see her world differently, her eyes opened to possibilities for a future she never envisioned for herself. While the hilarity of such a scenario is expected, what came as a surprise was the depth of emotion woven through these pages. This story is the perfect mix of sex appeal, humor and romance, but it's peppered with heavier moments, intense emotions, and raw angst that make for a story that's both heartwarming and heart stopping.

This is officially my favorite book from Alice Clayton, and it's absolutely one of my favorite books of the year. I really thought I knew what to expect going into this story, but it far exceeded anything I assumed it'd be. Funnier, sexier, more romantic, and unexpectedly intense and angsty, Cream of the Crop truly is the complete package. Alice Clayton's writing is superb in this book, the dialogue so smart and quick, the prose polished and clean. The book is light and fun and heartwarming but it's also pretty damn heavy at times. The steam is off the charts and the angst factor really balances the humor to make for a perfectly unputdownable read. This book is aptly named. I love this author's books but Oscar and Natalie's story really is the cream of the crop in the Hudson Valley series.

Jessica's Rating:

ALICE CLAYTON worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read laptop).

She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her.

Now, about that Bernese Mountain dog.


  1. I haven't had a chance to pick this author up yet, but I love those "feel good romances" and man I love a alpha like sexy farmer!! I definitely can't wait to pick this one up. Lovely double reviews.